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Thursday, 07 February 2008 05:13

AOL comes back to Australia - as a web site

Looks like AOL in the US have the rights to their Australian domain name back after selling the dial-up and broadband business to iPrimus, launching a new portal to capture Australian eyeballs and fight against Ninemsn, Yahoo7 and everyone else.

AOL is back down under, with a new portal offering a “suite of communications products, advanced video search, media player, and content focused on information and entertainment”, with the site’s search capability provided by Google.

AOL say they are a “leading provider of Web services with 237 million unique visitors worldwide”, with the local launch part of their “global strategy to have a presence in 30 countries by the end of 2008”, growing from four portals around the world in 2007 to 17 portals with this launch today.
Maneesh Dhir, Executive Vice-President, AOL International said that: “AOL's global expansion is gathering momentum with our launch in this key market. The Australian online market has seen rapid growth and will continue to do so as broadband uptake increases. With our strong product offering and backed by our partners, all of whom are leaders in their field, AOL is set to make a difference in the Australian online experience.”

Dhir added: “As a global Web-based, advertising supported company, AOL is focused on products and programming leadership, and with our prior experience in the Australian market, we believe we have a strong framework which will form the core of our content-rich offering to consumers and advertisers.”

AOL has a global association with HP in 30 countries and is now extending this partnership to Australia. Through this partnership, AOL offers co-branded, localised versions of its portal, toolbar and search on HP desktops and notebook PCs sold worldwide. 

Just how successful AOL will be with their new portal, given people’s propensity to not want to change from the sites they use everyday, is clearly yet to be seen, but given AOL’s ongoing popularity as a portal in the US, and their name recognition even in the Australian market, the re-emergence of AOL in Australia is a very interesting development, especially given the possibility that Microsoft and Yahoo could soon be the one company.

So, what specific features does the new AOL website offer? Please read onto page 2.

AOL’s new portal offers a wide range of features you’d expect any modern portal to offer today’s users.

There’s AOL Mail, with spam blocking, virus protection and a promise of unlimited storage (just like Yahoo).

AOL’s instant messaging program has been integrated within the email software, while the downloadable Winamp media player lets users stream content from the web and play it locally.

The Search box is powered by Google, while the video search is powered by AOL provides a range of ‘channels’ of content for news, sports and entertainment, while AOL also offers a downloadable toolbar, as does just about every major portal these days.

All very standard stuff these days, that's for sure.

About the only thing we seemingly can be sure of is that AOL doesn’t appear to be selling Internet connections this time, so we should all be spared being flooded by free AOL signup CDs!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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